Category Archives: News

The COVID-19 Vaccine and a Little Bit of Hope

December 17, 2020 · 10:01 pm

The COVID-19 Vaccine and a Little Bit of Hope

2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. In January, I began to hear the rumblings about a novel coronavirus while on my clinical rotations. When asked whether I thought it would result in a pandemic, I said no. But I was wrong. The next few months brought cancelled rotations, cancelled Match Day, and cancelled graduation as COVID-19 spread across the globe.

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Keeping the Peace

June 3, 2020 · 2:02 pm

My Mennonite heritage is something I have always been proud of. I am proud of our history of non-violence and our reputation for service. But I believe that our emphasis on peace has often been superficial. We value forgiveness, humility, and self-sacrifice without always taking into account the cost of those virtues. I am still trying to unlearn the idea that I can create peace by absorbing violence. I have to unlearn the idea that turning the other cheek is the end of the story. Because that leaves no room for justice, and that is not good news to the oppressed.

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I See You, I’m Sorry

May 29, 2020 · 1:51 pm

A man leaves a photograph at a memorial for George Floyd on Wednesday afternoon, after the death of Floyd on Monday night in Minneapolis, Minnesota

When I read about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, I didn’t know what to say. What could I add to the conversation that hasn’t already been said a thousand times? Before I found the words, I learned about the murder of Breonna Taylor, and again didn’t know what to say. Now, the murder of George Floyd is in the news and I still have nothing to offer.

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President Trump: My Commitment (And What I Ask in Return)

January 22, 2017 · 5:21 pm

President Trump: My  Commitment (And What I Ask In Return)

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump is the new president of the United States.  As such, I make the following commitments:

1. I will seek information about President Trump from reputable news outlets. I will try to avoid heavily biased and sensationalist media.  I will do my best to seek out news that accurately depicts the facts, and I will even try to consider sources whose bias differs from my own with an open mind. Read More →

On Refugees: My Story and Some Facts

November 19, 2015 · 7:28 pm

Aylan Kurdi

I grew up in an area where conflict rose and fell like the tide—sometimes the fighting increased, and sometimes the calm.  It could be measured by how often in the night we heard the war cry echo between our mountain and the next, and by how many late-night knocks came to our door asking for my father’s help to chase cattle thieves.  This, to me, was normal.  This was the way things were.

There came a time when things changed.  We heard less about raids and more about battles.  I was forbidden to play at the river with friends.  We stopped taking walks when we found a warrior’s arrow on a path near our house.  I was too young to understand the politics of this war, but the tension I could feel.

Late one night, my father’s truck rumbled into our yard full of women and children from a nearby homestead.  Mattresses were spread out on every corner of the floor, and I felt simultaneously happy for the company and annoyed by the invasion of my private space.  In the days that followed, we drove past their homestead and saw what remained.  Every house had been burned to the ground. Read More →

If Your Brother Sins: On The Baltimore Riots

April 28, 2015 · 5:11 pm

If Your Brother Sins: Baltimore Protests

I see burning cars and smashed windows accompanied by the words “dirty animals.”  I see peaceful protesters holding up signs that read, “Black Lives Matter.”  Thanks to the age of social media, this is a time for everyone to say what we really think…to see who we really are. Camps are formed, and wagons are circled.  The name Freddie Gray is on our lips, and Baltimore is moving to the steps of the same dance that we watched in Ferguson, Missouri when we spoke of Michael Brown.  Steps that we practiced again in New York when we spoke of Eric Garner.  The rhythm of this dance has been beating in the heart of our nation for the decades since the Civil Rights movement, and since the age of slavery before that.  It has been beating in the heart of humanity for the centuries and millennia during which differences in race and ideology have given us cause to fear each other.

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Playing The Race Card

December 4, 2014 · 2:57 pm

Pulling The Race Card

I have nothing new to say about the deaths of Michael Brown or Eric Garner that hasn’t already cycled through your newsfeed a dozen times.  But I’ve seen a lot of push-back about “race-bating” and “playing the race card”.  Some people want to know why these two cases have garnered such a firestorm of media attention and popular protest when there are plenty of cases of unarmed white people being killed by police and of white people being killed by black people, and I think that deserves a response. Read More →

Quarantine or Concentration Camp? Ebola In West Point, Liberia

August 25, 2014 · 7:30 am

Quarantine or Concentration Camp? Ebola In West Point, Liberia

Liberia was the second country to confirm cases of Ebola when the outbreak was announced in March of this year. In a few short weeks, the number of cases and fatalities sky-rocketed form single to triple digits. To date, Liberia has been hit the hardest of any of the affected countries, with over 1000 suspected cases, and over 600 fatalities, consistent with the nearly 60% mortality rate of this particular strain of ebolavirus.

Tensions mounted in the last few months, as a number of cases were discovered in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. A treatment facility for suspected Ebola cases was set up in West Point, a township of Monrovia, however, locals were angered that infected patients were being brought into their community from other parts of the city. On August 16, armed men attacked the clinic and looted infected medical equipment and bed linens, causing patients to flee. While some of the patients were later found and brought to a hospital in Monrovia, other remained missing. Read More →

On Israel and Palestine

July 15, 2014 · 6:38 pm

On Israel and Palestine

When I was twelve years old, my mom found a mouse nest in some old mosquito nets she’d pulled out of a shed.  She called me over to see the three, teeny-tiny baby mice, eyes still closed, that were crawling around the ground, aimless and confused without their mother.  They were unbelievably adorable, and after a great deal of pleading on my part, my mom allowed me to keep them, provided they stayed outside. I fed them milk out of a bottle I had made from a plastic pen, and built them a cage out of some sticks and a bit of wire I’d scavenged from one of my dad’s projects. Sadly, my cage was no match for our cat, and when I went to check on the mice in the morning, they were no more. Read More →

The Chibok Schoolgirl Kidnapping – #bringbackourgirls

May 2, 2014 · 6:26 am



Social media has been buzzing with the story about 243 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped over two weeks ago, most of whom remain missing.  This is the kind of news that turns my stomach.  And while I’m glad that social media is raising awareness about this story, it’s often addressed in ways that make me uncomfortable. I am by no means an expert on the subject, but I’ve tried to break down the story and responses in a way that makes them easier to understand. What We Know

  • What Happened: On April 14, 276 girls, mostly between the ages of 16 and 18, were kidnapped from a Read More →